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Reality-TV Index

A recurring guide to which shows are on the rise and which are about to crash.

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The Amazing Race: Family Edition
The Premise
Ten teams, each composed of four family members, compete for a million bucks in a race around the world.

Should You Bother Watching?
Nah—wait for the “regular” version to come back around. This family edition’s been watered down, with super-easy clues and child-proofed destinations. The show’s also avoided gross-out food challenges, though the Paolo family’s bickering is almost as nauseating.


America’s Next Top Model
The Premise
Thirteen girls vie for a Cover Girl contract; host Tyra Banks alternates between their best friend and shriekiest critic.

Should You Bother Watching?
Not if you’re curious about how models really get started; these ladies are all too old, too short, or (sorry) too ugly to make it. Otherwise, though, there’s plenty of fun in watching them pose, get drunk, make out, and catfight as only skinny, starving vixens can.


The Apprentice: Martha Stewart
The Premise
It’s just like The Apprentice, only Donald Trump is Martha Stewart and the tasks are all girlie and stuff.

Should You Bother Watching?
Sure. It’s amusing to see corporate manly men (like Ur-mook Howie) getting all worked up about such feminine fripperies as children’s books and wedding cakes. But if you have time for only one Apprentice, the Donald’s version has more bite.


Breaking Bonaduce
The Premise
Former child star Danny Bonaduce collapses in an ugly fog of addiction and pathological narcissism.

Should You Bother Watching?
No way. Star narcissism has its appeal, but Bonaduce is a black hole of need, and his ’roid rage and a “suicide” attempt that’s more like emotional blackmail are hard to watch, let alone enjoy. Couldn’t he have told his daughter he’s going back to rehab when they were off-camera?


Three Wishes
The Premise
Pop singer Amy Grant alights like a fairy godmother on small towns across the country, goodies in hand.

Should You Bother Watching?
If you’ve got a TV sweet tooth, yes. The product placements (“the Home Depot Wish Tent”) should be toned down. But frankly, only the hardhearted won’t enjoy watching the wishes—Katrina refugees get new homes! Grandma gets a new lawn mower!—come true.


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